The 19th Annual University of Maryland
National Conference for McNair Scholars and Undergraduate Research

Graduate Student Panel

Chesapeake Ballroom, 7:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m., Friday March 16th, 2018

Chandra Reyna

Chandra is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Sociology department at the University of Maryland, College Park.

As an undergraduate at Boise State University, she examined how university culture can influence millennials’ explanations of racial phenomena and how students navigate issues of racial inequity using qualitative methods.

In her graduate studies, Chandra specializes in Social Psychology and Stratification with an emphasis on racial identity formation and maintenance within multiracial and communities of color.

To find more about Chandra Reyna's work click here.

Zainab Okolo

Zainab Okolo is currently a doctoral candidate of Higher Education Administration at The George Washington University. Her research quantitatively examines the unique impacts of social capital on the college pipeline outcomes of first-generation college student populations. Zainab’s broader research focus includes college access and inclusion, the implications of campus climate on student outcomes and the role of campus leadership in advocating for marginalized student populations. Within her career, Zainab previously worked as the Undergraduate Director for the Department of Family Science at the University of Maryland. During her tenure at UMD, Zainab served as a member of the President’s commission for minority issues, advocating for student access and equity in the areas of food insecurity and accessible mental health resources on campus. Following her 7-year tenure with UMD, she worked with the Lumina Foundation, the Institute of Higher Education Policy (IHEP) and is currently a Graduate Research Fellow at the American Council on Education.

Zainab holds a MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from Syracuse University and a BS in Family Science from the University of Maryland, College Park.


Mark Lockwood

Mark Lockwood is a doctoral student and a Ronald E. McNair Fellow in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, he earned an MA in Performance Studies from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 2017, and a BA in Women's and Gender Studies from Rutgers University in 2015. Mark has also served as a 2017 fellow at the Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society at the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands.

Currently, Mark's research examines visual representations of Black queer sexuality in gay pornography. More specifically, Mark's research explores how racialized images of Black gay men in pornography — the "homo-thug" for example — are inextricably tethered to the "ghettocentric imagination," historically and socioculturally. His current research interests are pornography, sex work, black visuality, ethnography, oral history, popular culture, performance studies, and queer of color critique

Zachary Castillo

Zachary is a first-year graduate student in the physics department at the University of Maryland, College Park. His involvement with the McNair program started in fall semester of 2015 while the attending the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM. Zachary graduated in the spring of 2017 with Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics and Applied Mathematics. His McNair research project and senior honors thesis focused on using inexpensive, hobby grade electronics to detect signals from a class of particle detectors currently being used to search for dark matter. Zachary is also a recipient of the Ronald E. McNair Graduate Fellowship which is offered through the UMD Graduate School.


Dean's Panel

Chesapeake Ballroom, 12:15 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., Friday March 16th, 2018

Dr. Steve Fetter

Interim Dean and Associate Provost for Academic Affairs
University of Maryland, College Park

Steve Fetter is Interim Dean of the Graduate School, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, and Acting Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Study of Language. He has been a professor in the School of Public Policy since 1988, serving as dean from 2005 to 2009.

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the American Physical Society, and a recipient of the APS Joseph A. Burton Forum Award. He has been president of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs and a member of the Director of National Intelligence's Intelligence Science Board and the Department of Energy's Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee. He served as vice chairman of the Federation of American Scientists and received its Hans Bethe 'Science in the Public Service' award. He has served on several committees of the National Academy of Sciences.

In 2009-12 and 2015-16 Fetter was on leave to the White House, where he served as assistant director at-large and led the energy and environment and national security and international affairs divisions in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. In 1993-94 he served as special assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy Ash Carter, and he worked in the State Department as an American Institute of Physics fellow and as a Council on Foreign Relations international affairs fellow. He has been a visiting fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, Harvard’s Center for Science and International Affairs, MIT’s Plasma Fusion Center, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He also served as associate director of the Joint Global Change Research Institute, and has been a consultant to several U.S. government agencies.

He received a Ph.D. in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a S.B. in physics from MIT in 1981.

To find more about Dr Steve Fetter, click here.

James Mack

Interim Dean and Associate Provost for Academic Affairs
University of Maryland, College Park

James Mack, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, is responsible for developing strategic initiatives around recruitment, admissions, policies, and student awards. He provides leadership for graduate student professional development and career advancement, serves as Graduate School liaison for a variety of university-wide committees, University Registrar, Office of Student Affairs & Services, and the International Student Services Office. As an executive team member of the University of Cincinnati Black Faculty Association he develops strategies to increase the recruitment, retention and success of Black faculty. As the Chair of the Advocacy and Accountability Council of UCLEAF, he helps the academic leadership to ensure that the broader goals of UC, particularly those surrounding diversity, inclusion, and faculty success, are aligned at the college and departmental level.

Mack is also Professor of Chemistry earning a doctorate degree from the University of New Hampshire and serving as a Postdoctoral fellow at Boston College. He has research interests in the development of environmentally benign organic reactions and the synthesis of novel organic materials. He has earned over $1 million dollars in research support, published numerous articles, and was named a Lowenstein Scholar. His research has been featured on NPR, in the New York Times, Forbes magazine, Chemical and Engineering News and Chemistry and Industry magazine. He is a proud and dedicated mentor, being awarded the Carl Mills award for outstanding faculty & student relations.


McNair Scholar’s Success Stories

Chesapeake Ballroom, 7:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m., Saturday March 17th, 2018

Dr. Waseem A. Malik

Dr. Waseem A. Malik obtained both his MSc and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland College Park, in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Prior to pursuing graduate education, he completed dual bachelor’s degrees in 2007 in the fields of Electrical Engineering, Cum Laude and with Honors in Engineering, and Mathematics also from the University of Maryland College Park. He was awarded the A James Clark Graduate School Super Fellowship (2007-2010) for his doctoral studies. He is also a recipient of the Lily Chen Excellence in Teaching Fellowship (2009), the International Engineering Council’s William L. Everitt Award (2007) for academic excellence, and the McNair Ambassador Award (2006) for leadership skills.

His research interests are in the fields of systems and control, optimization theory, cyber-physical systems, randomized algorithms, mathematical statistics, machine learning, and pattern recognition. Currently, he is a Senior Professional Staff at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Adjunct Faculty at the University of Maryland College Park, and a Lecturer in the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Kameron Van Patterson

Dr. Kameron Akéru Van Patterson (né Cameron Van Patterson) is the Director of Programs at the Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice & Ethics, and Faculty Specialist in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has taught at the secondary and postsecondary levels, and is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Achievement America dedicated to promoting high achievement among resilient youth from diverse communities. Prior to joining the University of Maryland, Dr. Patterson served as the Director of Foundation and Government Grants at The Ellington Fund. Earlier in his educational leadership career, Dr. Patterson served as the National Director of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools program—an out-of-school literacy, social action, youth leadership development, and high-quality early childhood education initiative that promotes equity in education through service to children and families in low-income communities throughout the country. He has taught as an Adjunct Professor at Clark Atlanta University and has lectured at various universities across the country on the historical significance of African American art, visual culture, and the complex relationship between artistic practices and social discourses of difference throughout the African Diaspora. Dr. Patterson’s scholarly research employs critical race theory to examine the historical impact of inequality and social justice movements in western cultures. Currently, he works in collaboration with several organizations dedicated to empowering young men of color through service, leadership, and the arts. Born and raised in Long Beach, CA, Dr. Patterson has been recognized for numerous achievements in education and is a two-time recipient of the Pedro Noguera Volunteer of the Year Award. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies and a minor in Education from the University of California at Berkeley, and holds a Ph.D. in African and African American Studies with an emphasis in the History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University.

Dr. Dawnyéa D. Jackson

Dr. Dawnyéa D. Jackson earned both a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Science and a Master of Science degree in Couple and Family Therapy from University of Maryland, College Park. She also earned a PhD in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior from University of South Carolina. For her dissertation research she led the development, implementation, and evaluation of a mobile application intervention designed to decrease sexual risk behaviors among college students.

Dr. Jackson received the Best Researcher Award in 2007 from the University of Maryland Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program and it was the catalyst for her to seriously pursue doctoral studies. Her research interests are in risk behavior research, social determinants of health, health promotion, and health communication. Dr. Jackson was formerly an ORISE Fellow at the Health Resources and Services Administration and the United States Army Public Health Center. She also previously managed large-scale research and evaluation projects for military populations that focused on decreasing sexual risk behaviors, intimate partner violence, and alcohol and tobacco related harms. Currently, she is a Research Scientist at Rescue-The Behavior Change agency where she combines her passion for social justice with her research skills to support innovative tobacco control initiatives.